A local election official in Pennsylvania announced plans Thursday to defy the state and resist enforcing its newly enacted voter ID law, signed by Gov. Tom Corbett (R) earlier this year.
Christopher Broach, a Democrat who oversees elections in Delaware County, a Keystone State suburb, told the Philadelphia Inquirer he won't ask voters to present ID because it's a violation of their civil rights, implemented "for the sake of getting Mitt Romney elected."
"To ask me to enforce something that violates civil rights is ludicrous and absolutely something I am not willing to do," Broach told the outlet in an interview.
Broach is the first election official to publicly declare his intention to ignore the new photo ID measure, but he's not the only official with concerns. Jane Golas, a Republican inspector of elections for Radnor Township said she believes the law is politically motivated.
"This is a move by people to suppress the vote in the city of Philadelphia," she told the Inquirer. "We never had an issue with people coming in to fraudulently vote."
Broach's announcement comes as a trial on the constitutionality of the measure gets underway. Ninety-three-year-old Viviette Applewhite, the lead plaintiff in the case, claims that she has no access to any of the documents she will need to get the state to issue her an acceptable form of photo ID. With her state-issued license, birth certificate and other documents supposedly lost long ago, she says the new law will leave her disenfranchised.
Her legal team said earlier this week that the law could make it more difficult for more than a million people to exercise their right to vote, while the justification for the law, alleged voter fraud, is grossly over-exaggerated and without real evidence.
A report from the Philadelphia City Paper earlier this week found that 1,636,168 registered voters, about 20 percent of the Pennsylvania electorate, either don't have a valid PennDOT-issued ID, or have IDs that are set to expire before the election. According to the City Paper's figures, 437,237 of these people reside in the urban center of Philadelphia. While voters will be permitted to use other documentation, such as passports and military IDs, PennDOT-issued IDs are one of the primary forms of identification.
The Justice Department has also stepped in with its own concerns, announcing earlier this week that it was mounting an investigation into whether the law discriminates against minorities.